AutoInsurance.com
Published: May 29, 2019Last updated: October 19, 2022

Online Car Insurance Quotes Guide

Can you really trust a car insurance quote that you get online?

Find The Right Insurance

Let our Perfect Policy Connectors do the work for you!

Auto Insurancephone-icon(855) 909-2474Request a free quote

The old method of getting car insurance quotes was to call up companies individually, answer dozens of questions, and compare quotes. But that’s no longer the case. Now you can get car insurance quotes online from multiple providers at a time. We’ll tell you how to get quotes and what to do with them once you get them.

Online Car Insurance Quotes

Information You’ll Need to Submit

To get an online insurance quote, you’ll fill out a form on a provider’s website with your relevant personal information:

  • Your name
  • Your ZIP code
  • Your current insurance provider, if any
  • How long you’ve been with your current provider, if applicable
  • How much you pay for car insurance monthly, if applicable
  • Whether you own or rent a home
  • Any other insurance policies you have and if you want to bundle them or not
  • Your date of birth
  • Your driving history, including any tickets, DUIs, or at-fault accidents in the past five years
  • The total number of vehicles you own
  • The amount of coverage you’re looking for
  • Your credit score — whether it’s bad, fair, good, very good, or exceptional

What Are Car Insurance Quotes?

Car insurance quotes are estimates of an insurance premium based on information provided. They are not necessarily the exact premium amount you will be offered once you apply for the insurance, as the application process takes more information into account than the details outlined above. However, quotes provide a good ballpark for different providers.

How to Compare Quotes

  1. Enter the same information each time. Be sure to enter the exact same information in every quote form you fill out. Otherwise, they won’t make for a good comparison.
  2. Take the quotes with a grain of salt. Keep in mind that the quotes are an estimate based on the information you provided. You won’t know your actual premium until you formally apply.

Why You Need Car Insurance

Car insurance is a legal requirement for driving in every state except New Hampshire and Virginia, the two states that don’t require insurance. If you are caught driving without insurance in a state that requires it, you could face the following penalties:

  • Fees
  • License suspension
  • Registration suspension
  • Vehicle impoundment.
  • Imprisonment

Additionally, if you drive without insurance and get into an at-fault accident, you’ll be responsible for all of your bodily injuries and property damages. Furthermore, depending on which state you’re in, you could be responsible for the other party’s property damages or bodily injuries as well. These costs can easily go into the thousands, so insurance acts as a buffer that protects you from this financial burden.

CheckFYI

In at-fault states, the person at fault in an accident is responsible for the other party’s medical payments and property damage losses. In no-fault states, each party pays for their own medical expenses, but the at-fault party is still responsible for all property damage.

Essential Car Insurance Information

State Requirements

When you buy insurance, you’ll need to meet the minimum coverage, which varies by state. Otherwise, you could get in legal trouble for driving without insurance.

Car Insurance Coverages

You can also opt for full coverage insurance, which includes the following coverages.

  • Liability coverage: Bodily injury and property damage coverage make up liability coverage, which applies to another party’s losses in accidents you cause. Except for New Hampshire and Virginia, every state requires property damage coverage, while every state except New Hampshire, Virginia, Florida, and New Jersey requires bodily injury coverage.
  • Medical payments coverage: In at-fault states, medical payments coverage pays for your injuries in accidents, regardless of who was at fault in the accident.
  • Personal injury protection (PIP): PIP is the no-fault version of medical payments coverage. The major difference is that it also includes reimbursements for lost wages and child care costs due to a car accident.
  • Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage: What if someone hits your parked car and lacks insurance, or their limits aren’t high enough to cover your property damage? In that case, uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage would cover your bodily injuries, property damage, or both, depending on your plan.
  • Collision coverage: Not required in any state, collision coverage applies to your property damages in accidents you’ve caused.
  • Comprehensive coverage: Also not required in any state, comprehensive coverage applies to your property losses from all non-collision events, such as auto theft, vandalism, hail damage, and natural disasters.

While this is not an exhaustive list of all the coverages and services insurance companies offer (think roadside assistance, rental car coverage, and mechanical breakdown insurance), these coverages are the most important.

Of course, car insurance doesn’t cover everything. Here are some of the incidents it will not cover:

  • Catastrophic events
  • Commercial driving
  • Electrical equipment added post-manufacturing
  • Freezing
  • Gross negligence
  • Intentionally caused property damage
  • Malicious acts
  • Recklessness1
  • Tire damage from roads
  • Wear and tear

Discounts

Quotes may not take into account all of the discounts an insurance company offers. You could make your premiums even lower by using insurance discounts such as these:

  • Accident-free
  • Annual mileage
  • Annual payment
  • Auto insurance employee
  • Certain safety equipment
  • Continuous insurance
  • Defensive driving course
  • Driver training course
  • Driving history/habits
  • Early quote
  • Early signing
  • Federal employee
  • Good student
  • Homeowner
  • Hybrid or electric vehicle
  • Military
  • Multi-car/multi-person
  • New car
  • Paid in full/good payer
  • Paperless/automatic billing
  • Safe driving
  • Student away from home
  • Teen driver monitoring (GPS)
  • Vehicle storage
  • Young driver

Claims

Insurance claims are how you will be compensated for your property damage and bodily injury losses. Once you submit a claim, your insurer will see if it’s covered and may send out an actuary to determine fault. If the claim is covered, you’ll receive compensation.

However, for collision and comprehensive claims, you’ll need to pay your entire deductible amount before you receive any additional compensation. If a claim isn’t covered, you’ll be responsible for your losses out of pocket.

Factors That Impact Car Insurance Rates

The reason you have to enter in all that information when you request online quotes is because many factors affect car insurance rates.

Your ZIP Code

Each state has different minimum coverage requirements. However, even within states, your ZIP code can dramatically affect your car insurance costs. In general, car insurance costs more in accident-prone, densely packed cities than it does in rural and suburban areas.

Your Vehicle

Expensive cars are more expensive to repair, and thus, more costly to insure. Some cars are safer than others in terms of crash safety ratings, so safer cars are cheaper to insure. In addition, some cars are more likely to be stolen, resulting in higher auto insurance costs. Here are the most stolen cars in 2020.

Name of car Most common year of stolen cars Number of cars stolen in 2020
Ford Full-Size Pickup 2006 44,014
Chevrolet Full-Size Pickup 2004 40,968
Honda Civic 2000 34,144
Honda Accord 1997 30,814
Toyota Camry 2019 16,915
Nissan Altima 2020 14,668
GMC Full-Size Pickup 2005 13,016
Toyota Corolla 2020 12,515
Honda CR-V 2000 12,309
Dodge Full-Size Pickup 2001 11,9912

Safety features, such as anti-lock braking, also could lower your premiums.

Your Mileage

If you have a long commute, you can expect higher premiums, since more time on the road means more opportunities to get into accidents. However, if you rely mainly on public transportation, you could lower your costs by opting for usage-based insurance (UBI). With UBI, you only pay for the miles you drive.

CheckTIP

Usage-based insurance is also known as pay-per-mile insurance. If you’re interested, look into Allstate’s Milewise or Nationwide’s SmartMiles.

Your Coverage Options

More coverage, higher limits, and lower deductibles raise your prices, while fewer coverages, lower limits, and high deductibles lower your prices.

Your Credit Score (in Most States)

In every state except Massachusetts, California, Hawaii, and Michigan, car insurance companies give higher rates to those with bad credit. Statistically, people with bad credit are more likely to be expensive for insurance providers.

Your Driving Record

Someone with a spotty driving history full of at-fault accidents, tickets, and/or DUIs in the past five years will pay more for insurance than someone with a clean driving record.

Your Gender (in Most States)

In every state except Massachusetts, California, Hawaii, Michigan, Montana, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania, men pay more for car insurance.

Your Age

Auto insurance costs are highest for teens and decrease around age 25. As you age, you gain more driving experience, making crashes less likely. See how your rates could change with a company like Progressive below.

Age Progressive average yearly rates, September 2020 to August 2021
17 and under $206
18 $230
19-20 $203
21-22 $176
23-24 $153
25-29 $136
30-34 $127
35-39 $124
40-44 $122
45-49 $120
50-54 $111
55-64 $100
65-74 $96
75 and over $1013

Your Marital Status

While there’s no direct correlation between marital status and crash likelihood, married people are less likely to have claims than single, separated, widowed, or divorced people. Therefore, you might see lower car insurance costs after you get hitched.

Your Homeownership (or Lack Thereof)

Homeowners are less likely to have claims, and therefore pay less for insurance than renters.

How Much to Pay for Car Insurance

As you can see, figuring out how much you should pay for car insurance isn’t an easy process. However, by looking at your state averages below, you can get a ballpark figure. This is the most recent data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, an organization that regulates insurance companies in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.

State Average annual spending on car insurance in 2019
Alabama $932.14
Alaska $991.09
Arizona $1,063.93
Arkansas $897.92
California $1,051.79
Colorado $1,174.87
Connecticut $1,237.55
D.C. $1,289.93
Delaware $1,440.58
Florida $1,414.17
Georgia $1,259.49
Hawaii $839.87
Idaho $738.10
Illinois $939.64
Indiana $777.05
Iowa $714.86
Kansas $818.99
Kentucky $935.61
Louisiana $1,557.22
Maine $696.37
Maryland $1,236.61
Massachusetts $1,182.69
Michigan $1,495.94
Minnesota $892.17
Mississippi $975.58
Missouri $929.91
Montana $834.86
Nebraska $807.30
Nevada $1,292.52
New Hampshire $864.35
New Jersey $1,395.53
New Mexico $932.67
New York $1,445.30
North Carolina $741.70
North Dakota $703.73
Ohio $802.72
Oklahoma $908.95
Oregon $990
Pennsylvania $992.33
Rhode Island $1,382.64
South Carolina $1,114.90
South Dakota $745.33
Tennessee $863.39
Texas $1,143.85
Utah $954.14
Vermont $785.37
Virginia $861.18
Washington $1,066.84
West Virginia $946.03
Wisconsin $767.42
Wyoming $776.224

CheckDID YOU KNOW?

The state of Louisiana is the most expensive for car insurance, with rates 31 percent higher than the national average. On the flip side, Maine is the cheapest state for car insurance, with rates 54 percent below the national average.

How to Find the Cheapest Quotes

  1. Shop the market. You’ll never know if you’re getting the cheapest quotes if you’re not shopping the entire market. Use a site like AutoInsurance.com to compare car insurance quotes side by side.
  2. Take discounts into account. What applicable discounts do companies offer? Speak to insurance agents directly rather than just going through quote forms to determine all your options..
  3. Look at the cheapest companies. To find the cheapest car insurance, look at companies known for their low rates.

Conclusion

Getting an online quote is just the beginning when you’re shopping for car insurance. Once you’ve found some reasonable quotes, you still need to do your due diligence and research companies further. While you want to save money, of course, you also want trustworthy insurance agents and personalized service.

You’ll want to consider certain questions: How fast does the insurer respond to claims? How can you contact customer service? What are their customer satisfaction ratings with third-party sites like J.D. Power?5

While cost is important, how a company treats its customers also matters. You want to make sure you’ll get your coverage in a timely manner if and when an accident occurs. Choosing the right insurer is important because although you can always switch auto insurance providers, you might lose a continuous insurance discount. To learn more about online quotes and car insurance in general, keep reading our frequently asked questions below.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who normally has the cheapest car insurance?

Across the board, GEICO normally has the cheapest car insurance, with the lowest annual rates falling at $354. However, GEICO might not be the cheapest company for everybody, as each driver’s insurance is based on their personal information and driving history.

Can I purchase auto insurance online?

Yes, you can purchase auto insurance online from certain companies. However, most companies will require you to call an agent to purchase insurance.

Are online car insurance quotes reliable?

Online car insurance quotes are reliable to an extent. While they can give you a good idea of how much your premiums will be, you can’t know the exact number for sure until you apply.

Does checking car insurance quotes affect my credit score?

No, checking car insurance quotes won’t affect your credit score, as it’s a soft inquiry. By contrast, if you apply for a car loan, the potential lender would put a hard inquiry on your credit report, which would hurt your credit score for a certain period.

Citations

  1. What are Auto Insurance Policy Exclusions? Simmons and Fletcher.
    https://www.simmonsandfletcher.com/car-accident-lawyer/auto-insurance-claims/auto-policy-exclusions/

  2. NICB Releases Annual ‘Hot Wheels’ Report: America’s Top Ten Most Stolen Vehicles. National Insurance Crime Bureau. (2021).
    https://www.nicb.org/news/news-releases/nicb-releases-annual-hot-wheels-report-americas-top-ten-most-stolen-vehicles

  3. Car insurance for teens. Progressive.
    https://www.progressive.com/answers/teen-driver-insurance/

  4. 2018/2019 Auto Insurance Database Report. National Association of Insurance Commissioners. (2022).
    https://content.naic.org/sites/default/files/publication-aut-pb-auto-insurance-database.pdf

  5. Auto Insurance Customer Satisfaction Stalls Despite $18 Billion in Premium Relief, J.D. Power Finds. J.D Power. (2021).
    https://www.jdpower.com/business/press-releases/2021-us-auto-insurance-study